Tips on Arabic Music Interpretation for Belly Dance

March 11, 2011 , , Tina Kapp
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Whether you are going to improvise or plan a piece of choreography, it is useful to think about how to interpret Arabic music.

  • Spot a structure in the song. Usually Arabic (and not only Arabic) songs have a precise structure, with parts that are repeated, like sentences (usually in groups of 4, 8 or 16 counts), throughout the piece, sometimes with small variations.
  • Listen to the music and perform accordingly, for example flowing movements to wind and string instruments, sharp movements to percussions or shimmies to tremolando.
  • In general, a big orchestra playing with many instruments calls for more and bigger travelling steps and large use of the stage space than, for example, a drum solo.
  • If the music is earthy and grounded, with a lot of percussions, doing steps on flat feet is usually better than floating around on tip toes.
  • On the other hand, if the music has a lot of melody and air and string instruments, lighter movements on tip toes reflect better the music.
  • Do not hurry through your dance. Even if the music seems fast, you do not have to rush, but take your time.
  • This tip is related to the one above. Remember to pause sometimes, taking advantage of small breaks or changes in the music. This will show you are in control, build suspense and highlight more dramatic movements.

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